Egg scandal affecting over 15 countries

Around 700,000 eggs from Dutch farms implicated in the Fipronil contamination scare have been distributed to Britain, rather than the 21,000 first estimated, the watchdog said.

Farms in four countries - Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France - have been blocked from selling eggs after detection of the pesticide fipronil, European Union trade and agriculture spokesman Daniel Rosario told reporters Friday.

Danish food safety authorities say 20 tons of boiled and peeled eggs linked to the pesticide scandal were sold in recent months to a distributor in Denmark, which in turn sold them to canteens, cafes and catering companies in the country.

In total the Intelligence and Investigation Services of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA-IOD) searched on eight different Dutch locations.

Processed foods containing eggs, including sandwiches and salads, have been recalled by leading supermarkets, including Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda.

The scandal has caused major political fallout, with neighbours Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany squabbling over who is to blame, and who knew what and when.

"This is just the latest of a number of food safety issues connected to eggs produced outside of the United Kingdom in recent years. However, Fipronil is not legally allowed for use near food-producing animals and it shouldn't be there".

In a statement, Qatar's Ministry of Public Health said egg imports in Qatar come from 10 different nations.

The FSA stressed that the number of eggs that have come to Britain represents 0.007% of the eggs consumed in the United Kingdom every year, making it "very unlikely that there is any risk to public health from consuming these foods".

Dutch authorities said the raids also focused on a Belgian supplier of fipronil, named in the media as Poultry-Vision, and another unidentified Dutch company that allegedly colluded with it.

The EU insists there is no threat to human health, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says that when eaten in large quantities it can harm people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves in Germany as well as Belgium and the Netherlands. According to officials, it may have been added to disinfectant in some chicken farms.

In Belgium, 11 search warrants were carried out in the framework of the investigation, which now targets 26 individuals and companies that suspect.

Dutch police have now arrested two people suspected of using the insecticide fipronil.

  • Rogelio Becker